The Problems with Chronic Cardio

Chronic Cardio

When people think of working out or losing weight they often think of jogging, running, the treadmill, swimming, or biking. And they aren’t wrong. These are great activities. However, many people believe that cardio is the key to losing weight, and research is saying otherwise.

According to Mark Sisson, constantly pushing yourself to run, cycle, or swim further and further everyday can cause your heart to be overworked. Over time this can put your heart at risk of enlargement and wall thickening, putting you at risk of a heart attack.  (See Mark’s article for more information on how constant cardio can also create cardiac arrhythmias and atherosclerosis.)

Another issue with chronic cardio includes overtraining. Problems can arise when we don’t let our body recover in between cardio training, which can create chronic oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when we breathe, and is caused by free radicals. Free radicals damage cells in the body, and overtime can leave our cells and tissue unable to to function properly. Even though you may see your run times decrease, your body is not getting the recovery it needs.

As we age our muscle mass naturally starts to decrease which can create issues and cause injuries during chronic cardio. Now we aren’t saying that you shouldn’t do cardio, we are big fans of cardio! But there is a happy medium. To gain optimal function and training we recommend a combination of interval cardio and strength training.

If you have any questions or are interested in learning more about training, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Jeff Weekes at drweekes@dynamichealthandperformance.ca.

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